(NNPA)—Unfortunately, too many Black folks in this country are blinded by a debilitating condition best described as the illusion of inclusion. This was graphically demonstrated at a town hall meeting during which Mrs. Velma Hart, an educated, stylishly-dressed Black woman relayed her deeply felt economic concerns to President Barack Obama. With a firm voice, Mrs. Hart told the President that “I am one of your middle class Americans. And quite frankly, I am exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class….”
It is very disturbing that an educated Black person could possibly believe that a Black president, no matter what he said during his campaign, could bring about meaningful change in a society where race still matters. This is a society that has never, in its entire history, voluntarily given Black folks anything. Every move forward in the struggle for equal rights, equal opportunity and equal justice came about after many of our people paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. It is a society where Rupert Murdock’s New York Post can publish an article on Mrs. Hart, a financial officer with a veterans organization, with the headline “Gal Takes Him (President Obama) to Task Over Failed Vow at Town Hall”; where Richard Schuman, a University of Michigan sociology professor, in a survey found that Whites consider integration as 15 percent Black, 85 percent White with a White person always in charge. Noted Schuman, “….when White Americans say they ‘favor’ integrated schools or neighborhoods what they really mean is a few Black students or families in a predominately White environment.” It is a society where conservative icon William Buckley could write in a 1991 National Review article that “….Blacks, yes, are sensitive, but Black lobbies are not powerful enough to punish nonpolitical transgressors against such taboos.”
If the spoken or written offense is egregious enough, as in the case of the joke told (in 1975) to John Dean by Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz, a Cabinet officer gets fired. If a district attorney is named to a federal judgeship and it is revealed that he once made a pot-valiantly genial reference to the Ku Klux Klan, he can be defeated on the floor of the Senate. On the other hand, there is discussion of such questions as relative Black intelligence, sexual promiscuity and upward mobility that still gets a sober hearing in sober surroundings….”
And where Forbes, a prestigious business magazine, published an article by Dinesh D’Souza, a self-loathing “tribesman” from Mumbai, India, in which he accuses President Obama of governing with the anti-colonialist beliefs of his father, whom he describes as a “Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya….” An Indian friend said that D’Souza, who is treated as an expert on Black folks in many academic and journalistic circles, is an Indian equivalent of Clarence Thomas and Larry Elder.
A society with such White supremacist attitudes can’t be meaningfully changed by any single individual, but only by a group of people who are united, alert, focused, determined and knowledgeable.
(A. Peter Bailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)